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Internship Stories

Bachelors Degree in Sustainability – James Cook Univeristy, Cairns

Alishamay Charteris

“During my internship at CAFNEC, I assisted with projects and events including, Green Drinks, Drain Stencil Project, and MangroveWatch.

The experience I had as an intern at CAFNEC has strengthened my communication skills and allowed me to learn and practice advocacy in a digital age – a necessity during the COVID-19 lockdown earlier this year.

This internship has introduced me to inspiring, passionate individuals and shown me how extensive the environmental conservation network is in our community. I am grateful to have played a part in it and for the training, knowledge and memories I have picked up along the way.”

Bachelors Degree in Sustainability – James Cook University

Postgraduate Degree in Project Management – RMIT, Victoria

Ruth Gunaseelan

“My name is Ruth and it goes without saying, but I am passionate about the work that CAFNEC is doing to protect our beautiful environment in FNQ.

I have a degree in Sustainability from JCU and am currently taking part in a postgraduate course in Project Management through RMIT (all online, of course!).

I worked within the Community Organising and Communications space where we recruited and coordinated CAFNEC volunteers while also advocating for current campaigns and keeping our online participants up to date with what’s going on around our region. The work I did during my internship was very rewarding and I look forward to seeing the continuous fruits of CAFNEC’s campaigning and advocacy labour.”

Bachelor Degree in Geo Media & Design –

Netherlands

Rick Klopping

My name is Rick, a Geo Media & Design student from the Netherlands. In 2018, I did an internship at CAFNEC; five educational months in which I also had a lot of fun. I thought I would probably never get the opportunity to do an internship abroad again, so I decided to find an internship on the other side of the world. During my internship I wanted to gain more experience in the field of visualizing complex environmental issues CAFNEC offered me a great case study, in which they guided me very well. In a few months I learned a lot about Spectacled Flying-foxes. This bat species is seriously threatened and the situation in Cairns would likely have worsened. It is important to properly inform those involved, mainly residents and politicians, in order to find a solution. A 2-minute animation turned out to be the ideal way to explain the critical situation to a very diverse target group with different interests. In addition, I was able to help CAFNEC with fundraising and various awareness-raising projects, for example the Drain Stencil Project. It was great to contribute to this and to be among the residents. I would definitely recommend an internship at CAFNEC. I have never regretted my decision for even a single moment. 

Bachelors Degree in Geo Media & Design –

Netherlands

Freya Verharen

My name is Freya, I am a Bachelor Geo Media & Design student from the Netherlands. I did an internship abroad in 2018 for six months.

I learn a lot and we had a lot of fun at the office. I chose CAFNEC because it was a great opportunity to do an internship at the other side of the world, with a better climate and nicer places then the Netherlands.

During my time there I did a lot of behind the scenes work the Far North Wilderness Bike Tour fundraiser. I created a new website, new map of the tour and a short animation, and I designed the shirt for that year too! Unfortunately, I was no longer in Cairns to join the Bike Tour.

I learnt a lot from the staff at CAFNEC. They gave me always great feedback, there was a good communication and I loved to work with these people. Beside the head assignment I help with the other activities CAFNEC does. Like the Drain stencil project, the monthly Boomerang Bags sewing bees and other fundraising and various awareness-raising projects. I hope CAFNEC can do these activities for many more years!

Masters Degree in Environments –

La Sorbonne, Paris

Charlotte Eulry

“I spent four months at CAFNEC as an intern. I had a fabulous time with all the CAFNEC crew, and with all the amazing people from the Marine Response Team.

I did this internship to practice and gain skills in an environmental conservation centre for my university, based in Paris. 

As an intern I was given the fun job of organising the Plastic Free July campaign. I put together workshops, and I was able to meet and connect with lots of new and wonderful people. I learnt how to work better in a team, and all the possibilities that arise when we create something together.

If I can sum up in a few words my experience, I would say I learnt a lot about group work, advocacy and enthusiastic brainstorming! I couldn’t have expected more of my first internship in a foreign country. I received support, knowledge and good vibes from all of the CAFNEC team. I discovered how we can fight bravely and constructively for our ideas, in order to save our precious environment here on Earth. I’m really grateful for this experience, and the open-minded way of working that I came to discover over these four months because I opened mine.

I recommend CAFNEC to all those who want to discover the world of advocacy, and become more involved with the needs of our environment. This place contains lots of local issues (Coral Reef, Daintree Rainforest, Wetlands,…) that’s why it’s so important to be part of the conservation: change is now, and it needs people to bring it to life.”

Bachelor of Environments – University of Melbourne

Aïsha de Barros Lopes

Undertaking an internship with CAFNEC has been one of the best decisions I have made. CAFNEC has provided me with skills, knowledge and the confidence to work towards what I believe in.

When I began my internship I was given the opportunity to work on the Drain Stencil Project. I was not sure what to expect, and how much was required of me but I found myself becoming increasingly enthusiastic about where I could take it, and who I could get involved with. The nicest part of being an intern with CAFNEC was that I was given great guidance by the staff but at the same time I was able to make decisions on my own.

Fighting for environmental protection is not easy and I came to realise this more and more as my internship progressed. What amazed me though is that the humble staff and volunteers with whom I worked alongside were always full of energy and determination. It is this will they had which motivated me to push myself further. CAFNEC has helped me understand not only the problems Far North Queensland faces but also the rising complications between our society and the environment. Lastly, it has taught me a great deal about environmental advocacy, and the important part that organisations like CAFNEC play for real change to occur.”

Masters of Environmental Management and Sustainability – Monash University, Melbourne

Amalia Anindia

“Hey there!

My name is Amalia, an international student at Monash University. Throughout the course of my studies, I have been overwhelmed with the environmental challenges that have been happening in Australia and from my research with of different case studies, have also admired how communities have responded and dealt with these issues. After my 1st year, I decided that a professional internship could help me understand these challenges and maybe help me in choosing a research a topic for my thesis. I was also curious as to how an environmental non-governmental organization works in Australia, as well as seeing the level of community engagement that it depends on. This brought me to apply for an internship with CAFNEC.

CAFNEC has a solid reputation for nature conservation and environmental protection in North Queensland, and I admire their commitment and programs.  I had such an amazing experience interning with CAFNEC during my winter break. I’m  from Indonesia, and CAFNEC gave me the opportunity to experience first hand how an NGO operates in Australia. I had a chance to witness the process of setting up a campaign strategy, observed the decision-making process, got involved in community events, learned the importance of social media and community engagement, and also discovered a lot about the environmental movements in Far North Queensland. On top of that, I also had such a fun time living in Cairns, meeting amazing people, new friends, birding, and visiting national parks.

The internship has taught me a lot of valuable lessons., which I hope I could apply for the rest of my studies, professional life, and also in my community back home. Thank you so much, Bess, Roz, Marie, the Marine Response Team, and everyone else, who made me feel so welcomed during my stay there.”

Major in International Relations – Bond University, Gold Coast

Claire Geerlings

“My name is Claire Geerlings and I am a student at Bond University in the Gold Coast. As part of my university major in International Relations I wanted to undertake an internship with a non-profit-activist organisation that is of great benefit to the community. I was fortunate enough to get an internship with the Cairns and Far North Queensland Environment Center (CAFNEC) where I worked in their office (at the Cominos House) four days a week, for five weeks. I undertook research on international obligations for the development of Australia’s National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas (NRSMPA) and supporting national legislation. The result was a report and two fact sheets specifically for CAFNECs use.

My internship at CAFNEC provided me with life-long values my favorite of which is: working towards something you believe in and setting goals. The CAFNEC staff and volunteers were all supportive and enthusiastic about environmental protection in our local area and it was a great chance to work in such a professional, self-motivated environment.

During my internship, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend an The NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub and Reef Rescue Conference at the Cairns Pullman Reef Casino with one of my supervisors. Experts from across the country came to deliver their findings about reef issues. My favorite from the day I went was speaker Andrew Negri who discussed the chronic effects of pesticides and their persistence in tropical waters.

CAFNEC is a friendly environment that promoted many opportunities for me during my internship. I completed my university course requirements, had fun, learned many new things, and created friends along the way.”

Bachelor of Science

Cosima Stokeld

“I was an intern at Cafnec from April 2015 until October. I was really pleased to be accepted as an intern for my last year of Uni doing a Bachelor of Science.

I found the organisation really flexible with the days and hours that I worked, which was great for juggling work and uni. I was able to work, with and learn from some truly inspiring and talented people while also meeting others from similar organisations.

I had lots of opportunities to connect with the local community and this was very valuable to me, having newly moved to the region.

CAFNEC gave me the responsibility of my own project, while also providing the support and guidance I needed to complete it. This gave me a fantastic opportunity to learn on the job, and experience what it was like to work in environmental advocacy.

I really recommend an internship at Cafnec for anyone with a passion for the environment, community empowerment and conservation.”

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